Mainstream hip-hop’s November to remember: Kanye West
A year after the infamous Taylor Swift incident, Kanye West debuted “Runaway” at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. West also introduced the public to his G.O.O.D. Friday project, in which he has been releasing tracks to the public but tried to keep fans guessing about which tracks would make the final cut on his album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
In what some have called an effort to make the next “Thriller” video, the full-length “Runaway” film is visually stunning and simplistically intriguing. The film is a raw and organic look at West and a departure from his usual bravado as viewers witness him fall in love with, oddly enough, a bird-woman.
The film also gives fans glimpses of, and sometimes even whole songs from, the new album, excluding only the ubiquitous mega-hit, “Monster,” from the soundtrack. Unfortunately introduced by Nicki Minaj babbling in an awful attempt at a British accent, the film is quickly redeemed by the intense and determined introduction of “Dark Fantasy.”
Kid Cudi’s soft voice makes a cameo next in “Gorgeous,” followed by a slightly modified version of the album’s first single, “Power,” which uses female vocals to build its strong beat.
Next, “All of the Lights,” featuring Rihanna, comes to life in the video with a fireworks display and a Michael Jackson-themed parade, while “Devil in a New Dress” is the background to an elaborate dinner party in a warehouse with no lack of racial and social commentary.
After a dinner guest points out that West’s beautiful girlfriend is indeed a bird, the film segues into the actual performance of “Runaway,” featuring ballerinas clad in black dancing a mix of classical and urban ballet. The film then samples a snippet of “Hell of a Life” and “Blame Game,” which features John Legend—a pretty, piano-laiden track with less-than-pretty lyrics.
“Blame Game” is followed by “Lost in the World,” a beautifully lyrical and harmonious introduction that follows up with an energizing beat leading to the dramatic finale of the film.
We once again see a more aggressive and brash, not to mention a boastful and sexually arrogant, West. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” which hits shelves Nov. 22, shows West’s ability to constantly evolve and simultaneously be his own biggest fan and critic.
West’s newest music is much more reminiscent of his old days on the “College Dropout” and “Graduation” albums, rather than the slow-burning, melancholic “808s & Heartbreak.”
His ability to combine snippets of soulful singers with steady raps and solid beats is nothing short of the comeback that Kanye’s fans were looking for. Welcome back Mr. West.
Amanda Berrill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.